Alex Fasolo will take an extended break from football to deal with depression.
Alex Fasolo will take an extended break from football to deal with depression. JULIAN SMITH

Magpies star taking time out of game with depression

COLLINGWOOD forward Alex Fasolo will take a break from the game to deal with depression.

The 24-year-old goalkicker has sought treatment for the mental health problem and will miss Sunday's clash against Fremantle in Perth.

It is understood Fasolo remains an outside chance to play in the Queen's Birthday blockbuster against Melbourne on Monday, June 12 at the MCG.

The club will determine a timeline for his return based on medical advice.

Collingwood released a statement confirming Fasolo was suffering depression and was expected to take a "short break" from football.

While Fasolo has been battling the problem throughout the season, his condition deteriorated in the wake of Sunday's 45-point win over Brisbane Lions.

The Magpies said Fasolo would take some "time out in the interests of his health".

"He will continue to train and prepare for football with the expectation of a swift return to playing," the statement said.

"It is requested that Fasolo's privacy be respected."

Fasolo's form has been patchy this season with the West Australian kicking 2.4 from 17 possessions on Sunday.

He has booted 14.20 for the season.

The AFL and Players' Association have vowed to support players dealing with mental health problems and cope with the increasing pressures on the game's stars.

Western Bulldogs captain Bob Murphy sympathised with Fasolo.

"There's a lot of stress and anxiety in professional sport," he told SEN.

"Professional sport is intensely personal and intensely public. You spend a lot of time in your own thoughts and there's a lot of stress on performance and where you fit in.

"I can understand that occasionally these things blow up because the pressure and exposure on athletes just keeps going up and up.

"I think we handle it better, I think the media handle it better, the clubs handle it better but it's an ongoing struggle for a lot of athletes."

Sydney Swans superstar Lance Franklin made a successful comeback from a mental health problem which sidelined him for the 2015 finals series.

Mental health advocate Wayne Schwass, who battled depression over a 15-year AFL career, in March said he believed "a lot" of AFL players battled depression in private and urged players experiencing problems to reach out.

"It's about teaching young men that it's completely normal to talk or ask for help. It's not a sign of weakness and that's where we need to move to," Schwass said.

"I'm confident there are lot more men in the (footy) industry that are dealing with these things, but are too scared to talk about it."

News Corp Australia


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